Frenda Wall Haynie, undergraduate student advisor and program coordinator for the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, received the university's 2015 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Advising.

The Provost’s Award for Excellence in Advising is given annually to a Virginia Tech faculty or staff member who serves undergraduate advisees in exemplary ways. Awardees receive a $2,000 prize and are inducted into the university’s Academy of Advising Excellence.

“Frenda has a wonderful rapport with students, facilitating rather than directing their curricular planning while preserving a sense of student ownership and responsibility of their choices,” Steven Blank, Mike Ellerbrock, and Kurt Stephenson, three agricultural and applied economics faculty members, wrote in their combined nomination letter for this award. “Since her arrival, the number of students with problems meeting graduation requirements has fallen dramatically.”

In her current position, Haynie is the academic advisor for agribusiness and applied economics management majors, with the exception of the financial planning option. As the advisor and program coordinator, she assists students in understanding and choosing a major option, guides them through their degree-planning processes, and provides information and support throughout their academic careers. Haynie also teaches the department’s first-year experience course for freshmen and transfer students and serves on the department’s Undergraduate Advisory Committee and is an Ag Econ Club advisor.

“Frenda works hard to make our department better and improve her skills,” added her three nominators. “She identifies problems early and offers ideas on how to improve our curricula and recruiting. She takes her advising career and craft seriously and is active within professional advising associations.”

Students concur with this assessment. Catherine O’Donnell, an undergraduate student in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, was among the dozens of students who wrote letters in support of Haynie’s nomination.

“Frenda has been the most helpful advisor I could ever wish for,” wrote O’Donnell. “Without her, I would not be able to graduate on time while pursuing a five-year B.S./M.S. degree. No matter how stressed or how impossible my schedule may appear to be, she is always patient, understanding, and, most of all, supportive of your dreams and ambitions. She not only exceeds as an advisor but also as a mentor. She is always looking out for her students.”

Haynie received her bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech and expects to complete her master’s degree from Kansas State University next year.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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